As ever there is a plethora of racing to enjoy over the Festive period. I will be keeping the site up to date over the week, a number of horses have multiple entries, but the best bets for Boxing Day are going up nice and early as I won’t be updating on Christmas Day; I will be overindulging in Turkey and Mince Pies!
The rain dance I have been doing in the run-up to the Festive period for Sunbury-on-Thames hasn’t really worked and at the time I write on Christmas Eve the going is good-soft with the forecast for a dull day and a likely shower or two for Christmas day – hopefully heavy showers! The reason for the rain dance will come as no surprise to regular readers as I am on Bristol De Mai for the 32Red King George VI Chase due off at 3.05. I am sitting on a ticket at 7-2 placed a couple of weeks back. Hopefully, this will be step two towards that £1million bonus if he can add the Kempton showpiece and the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the demolition job he did on his rivals in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. I would have preferred it bottomless as he is different class to the others in those conditions, he is able to keep going at the same speed and grind the opposition into submission, but don’t forget he has won on soft and good-soft and was second in the JLT Novices Chase at the Festival in 2016 on good. At six the grey is likely to still be improving and to add to the G.1 Betfair Chase procession the form of his G.2 Charlie Hall win on seasonal debut is looking better and better with Blaklion and Definitly Red both winning next time out. I am a huge fan of this horse, I just love the way he goes to the front and dares the others to try and go by, and I will be cheering him every step of the way. Colin Tizzard launches a two-pronged assault with the defending champion Thistlecrack who didn’t look at his best when finishing well beaten on his return from injury in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury earlier this month being joined by stablemate Fox Norton narrowly denied over two miles in the Tingle Creek at Sandown recently (tipped on here). Might Bite will be favourite and is a talent but I think he is a bit of a monkey, blew the chance of winning the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at this meeting last time blundering at the last and nearly lost the RSA wandering about and idling up the hill at Cheltenham.
Prior to the big one, we have the Grade One company in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase at 1.55 over the same three-miles. Elegant Escape got the better of Black Corton by a ¾ length when taking the Grade Two John Francome Novices' Chase earlier this month but is 3lb worse off at the weights for this and the Paul Nicholls trained six-year-old mad a hash of the last when challenging that day as well so id fancied to reverse the placings. Death Duty will stay in Ireland for the Novice Chase at Limerick I am sure leaving Mia’s Storm likely to be clear favourite. She beat Elegant Escape with a bit in hand at Chepstow back in October before winning a Listed Mares race at Market Rasen last time. This has been the plan since and as it looks unlikely to be bottomless she should run and will take all the beating getting 7lb from the boys. I took 11-4 pre-Christmas.
There are plenty of odds-on shots if that’s your game over the sticks but they’re not for me, especially on Boxing Day, how often do these types get turned over on Bank Holidays!
They do go on the Tapeta up at Dunstall Park Wolverhampton and they have two decent little heats. Emenem was entered in the Listed Quebec Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday but should now travel to the Black Country from Epsom for the Betway Handicap over 1m1½f at 1.45 instead. He has won here over 1m½f and was second over track and trip earlier this month. I will take a chance on the Simon Dow trained colt if he does arrive.
The Betway Conditions Stakes over the six at 2.50 should go to Salateen who was second in the G.3 Supreme Stakes at Goodwood when last season in August. The David O’Meara trained five-year-old won a Listed heat over seven furlongs here on his only previous visit and looks the class act in the entries. He hasn’t run over six furlongs since June 2016 but I would expect to see Adam Kirby make this a real test stretching them from the front all being well and burning them all off.